Environmental pollution is the biggest development challenge: Survey

A youth perception survey says the challenge has remained unaddressed by the govt


The common people pray for rain, healthy children, and a summer that never ends," Ser Jorah told her. "It is no matter to them if the high lords play their game of thrones, so long as they are left in peace." He gave a shrug. "They never are.” — Game of Thrones

Once the mud slinging, divisive politics and nationalism rhetoric is removed from the conversation, what are the concerns of the common folk in India? Teri School of Advanced Studies did a recent survey on youth perception on sustainibility in government performance and concluded that environmental pollution was the number one development challenge and more than half the respondents perceived that this challenge has remained unaddressed by the Union Government. 

The survey aimed to gauge the awareness of the youth about sustainibility concerns (SDGs) and to assess their expectation from the General Election 2019 using the lens of sustainable futures and society. It interviewed 400 respondents below the age of 35 on questions about sustainable development goals. It was conducted in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, and was mostly urban and educated, and represented in equal numbers by males and females. 

The other main development concerns the country had, according to the respondents were employment opportunities, quality education, affordable and quality healthcare and gender equality and women's safety. A majority of them felt that both employment opportunities and quality education remained unaddressed in the last five years. Over half of them felt that quality healthcare had been only partially addressed. while over 80 per cent felt that gender equality was either partially addressed or unaddressed. 

A majority of the respondents also said that social and economic inequality (50.4 per cent of respondents) and peace and justice (48 per cent of respondents) were unaddressed by the government. 

The survey also assessed the expectations at the local levels and found that they were by and large the same as national level concerns, with the exception that water quality and sanitation was the third significant challenge. The assessment of the local Member of Parliament's works in these areas were on the same lines as the assessment of the government at the centre.